While the Stormers will be happy to have Herschel Jantjies and Jaco Coetzee returning from injury, there should be a greater worry about their recent collective efforts and how this bodes for their clash with the Jaguares this Saturday, writes former Springbok JAMES DALTON.
We can’t keep singing the praises of a Springbok-laden Stormers side if their performances aren’t matching their potential. A weak Lions side on Saturday showed that there are areas where the Stormers are vulnerable, and a strong Jaguares side come this Saturday may be able to expose these areas and win.
Yes, the Stormers defence was sound against the Hurricanes and Vodacom Bulls, but not so much against the Lions. One must remember, too, that you can’t simply win by tackling for 60% of a rugby match. You need to score points, too. The Stormers have a strong set piece, but as do the Jaguares, who have also shown that they are capable of scoring tries with great attacking continuity.
After a strong start against the Canes, the Stormers’ performances as a team (let’s forget injuries) have started to deteriorate, and there needs to be a collective effort to restore this.
The Bulls, while they were snubbed out eventually, dominated them in terms of possession and forced them to tackle and tackle. Tackling without converting the pressure into possession and try-scoring opportunities eventually just becomes tiring, and it’s when tired that teams’ vulnerabilities are exposed.
While their great start against the Hurricanes promised a lot, especially as the Canes then travelled to Argentina to beat the Jaguares, the Stormers’ weak showing in round three against a Lions side that was systematically drilled by the Jaguares in the opening round, has left many questions to be asked of the real quality of the Cape Town side and whether they are capable of continuity in what is a long Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.
And that is my feeling, heading into round four, that there are more questions than answers to the progression of a Stormers side that, based on the player and coaching quality, should be building and improving each week.
It seems though, that they are stagnating as the tournament progresses and while they are three from three, they should be cautioned against a strong Jaguares side who will be hungry for their No 1 spot in the SA conference and looking to lay down a marker in their first game away from home.
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